First Phase of City of Ennis’ Downtown Master Plan Completes
Gresham Smith is proud to announce that the first phase of the City of Ennis’ Downtown Master Plan is complete. Partnering with the City and MESA landscape architects to re-establish downtown Ennis as a shopping, dining and entertainment destination, the firm’s engineers designed the site, utilities and water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure to create a safe, walkable streetscape that preserves the city’s history while serving as a roadmap for future development.
“The City of Ennis is rich in history, with numerous buildings on the National Historic Register, and regularly hosts festivals throughout the year. Our team is proud to have helped the City revitalize the historic district to create a place where residents and visitors can enjoy all the town has to offer,” said Tim O’Brien, P.E., ENV SP, Vice President at Gresham Smith. “The town’s century-old streets and aging infrastructure posed a challenge, but we overcame significant space constraints to increase water distribution and wastewater collection system capacity, as well as accommodate the infrastructure needs of future development.”
Deep below Ennis’ turn-of-the-century streets, its 100-year-old infrastructure needed numerous upgrades. Given the limited historical records and documentation, Gresham Smith relied on geographic information systems, extensive field investigations and City employee knowledge to understand the City’s old clay sewer and cast iron water piping systems. The team ultimately installed 2,300 linear feet of stormwater pipe, 4,400 linear feet of wastewater pipe and 6,500 linear feet of water pipe.
In addition to below-grade improvements, the Gresham Smith team also turned the existing streets—which were originally constructed for horse-drawn carriages—into a walkable, ADA-compliant, curbless streetscape that vastly improves the pedestrian experience. Microscale grading plans, adequate drainage and ample stormwater collection will minimize the risk of localized ponding and flooding when it rains.
Gresham Smith has begun working on the second phase of the Downtown Master Plan. The additional phases will be implemented over the next five years to allow the City to stage project funding.